The Girl Who Kicked The Hornets' Nest (Luftslottet Som Sprangdes) (3 stars)

The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest

(15) 146min

‘It’s like a Greek tragedy’ comments one of the minor characters in the third thriller adapted from the late Stieg Larsson’s bestselling Millennium trilogy. There’s certainly something mythic about Lisbeth Salander’s baroquely rendered revenge story, which has spread from corruption in her family (via incest) to the upper echelons of government. Meanwhile, dogged reporter Mikael Blomkvist (Michael Nyqvist) follows each labyrinthine twist in her quest for justice like any straight-faced TV Euro-cop.

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest picks up the story with Salander (Noomi Rapace) having a bullet removed from her brain as she recovers in hospital. Blomkvist is still active, and aware that the wheels are already in motion to stop her trial, for the attempted murder of her father, from going ahead. During her trial, the prosecution continually cast aspersions on Lisbeth’s mental state, and she certainly cuts in eccentric figure in a full Mohican hairdo and steel-toe-capped boots. The Girl Who Kicked The Hornets' Nest skillfully unravels the method in her madness, Lisbeth’s lawyer accurately sums up the situation by suggesting that she’s been assaulted, by individuals and by the State itself, in a manner all the more distressing for being both ‘psychological and legal’. Larsson’s story is a essentially as reactionary as any crowd-pleasing vigilante thriller from the 1970s, but cleverly revised with more modern concerns about political manipulation and the exploitation of women.

With David Fincher’s adaptation of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo already in progress, starring Daniel Craig and Fincher’s The Social Network star Rooney Mara, these Swedish made-for-television versions may soon become somewhat outmoded, but they’re compulsively watchable. Director Daniel Alfredson has the intelligence to skip the more complicated machinations of the book, inadvertently exposing some shonky plotting in the process. While no great shakes as cinema, Hornets' Nest will be catnip to those who empathise with Lisbeth’s war against the male hegemony – unjustly treated and propelled to her own sweet revenge, Lisbeth Salander’s story is enough to ignite the inner goth in us all.

Selected release from Fri 26 Nov.

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest

  • 3 stars
  • 2009
  • Sweden / Denmark / Germany
  • 2h 27min
  • 15
  • Directed by: Daniel Alfredson
  • Cast: Noomi Rapace, Michael Nyqvist

The adaptation of the last installment of Stieg Larsson's trio of vengeance chronicles sees Lisbeth Salander (the awesome Rapace) on trial for murder, with loyal journo-sidekick Blomkvist (Nyman) trying his best to help. Catch it before the spurious US remake dribbles its way onto the screen.